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Winter canal works part of multi-million pound investment

UNLOCKING THE FUTURE: Works are being carried out across the network to protect the 200-year-old waterways.

The Canal and River Trust is investing £16.5 million carrying out specialist repairs, upgrades and maintenance work to the North West's historic waterways this winter.

Part of the programme, due to finish in mid-March, encompasses works along the Ashton Canal in Droylsden.

The works include new lock gates and ladder installed at Lock 13 (Crab- tree Lane); new bottom lock gates installed and masonry repairs at Lock 15 (Clayton); and repair work and new resin grouting to improve the condition of the lock chamber at Lock 16 (Edge Lane, Droylsden).

Winter projects extend across the rest of the canal network, including the Huddersfield Canal in Uppermill and Peak Forest Canal at Marple, plus the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Shropshire Union Canal.

Major projects also include securing the long-term restoration of Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge.

The Canal and River Trust, which nationally cares for 2,000 miles of waterways, is guardian to more than 380 miles of canals and rivers in the North West, as well as hundreds of locks, bridges, aqueducts, tunnels and reservoirs.

Most lock gates need to be replaced every 25-30 years and are individually made to measure from sustainably-sourced European green oak, hand-crafted in the Trust’s specialist workshops at Bradley, West Midlands, or Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire.

Daniel Greenhalgh, North West regional director for the Canal and River Trust, said: “Our job is to preserve and protect the nation’s precious man- made waterways.

“With many of the region’s canals constructed over two centuries ago, it’s important to stay on top of regular maintenance and keep the waterways in good condition.

“We always try to minimise inconvenience to boaters by carrying out this routine work during the winter months.

“Research proves people feel happi- er and healthier by water and over the pandemic particularly, waterways have offered a valuable lifeline for so many, providing perfect spots for local recreation and exercise.

“That’s why it’s so important that we keep them open and safe for everyone to use, whether people enjoy a waterside stroll, cycling, boating, paddling or angling.

“The canals are also great places for wildlife, promoting biodiversity, which is especially important in urban areas.”

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